As I walked into the church compound of the Church of St Francis Xavier, the beautiful stained glass panel at the front greeted me; it was set against the backdrop of the night sky. The church also has beautiful statues of some saints as a tribute to their life and also to remind us to walk in their footsteps.
Yesterday, the church celebrated All Saints Day which served as a reminder for us to be saints in our own way and to walk the path of righteousness. After all, saints were ordinary men and women who answered the call to do something special and unique in their life in small or big ways.
The gospel reading is one of my favorite readings as it gives us a perspective of the beatitudes that the saints live by and we are called to live by them too in the pursuit of the goodness and grace of God. “When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them,saying:”Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers,for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.Rejoice and be glad for your reward will be great in heaven (Matthew 5:1-12 A).”
I have read the lives of many saints and each have embodied at least one verse from the beatitudes. The saints and us are all children of God and this we must not forget. They have the burning desire in them to follow God with all their heart and mind. For our life on this earth is only temporary and our eternal home is in heaven.
Today’s feast is an invitation for us to turn our gaze to heaven and so we must bring light to the lives of others. Heaven is such a beautiful place and Jesus promises us the greatest joy possible which is eternal happiness after our earthly journey is complete.
Everyday I read the news, especially technology news such as keeping updated with the latest gadgets or computer peripherals. While it is good knowledge to have, it will not provide the answer to happiness as it is fleeting and short term. The beatitudes are precisely that, the answer to the secular world’s contradiction of the true meaning of eternal salvation, happiness and peace. Poverty of spirit finds joy in seeking God to be the greatest goal, and hunger of spirit calls for determination and time to reflect on the Word of God.
Like the saints, we are all destined for sainthood if we accept God, ponder on his Word and walk in the light of Christ, but most importantly we are to give ourselves abundantly and selflessly. The saints were never self-centered or greedy, and they willingly shared the little that they had with the people around them. For they believed in the conversion of hearts and souls to be their priority in bringing people out from sin and darkness. May we offer people glimpses of heaven through our actions and words; then perhaps they will be moved in the spirit to pass this piece of heaven on to others.
St Teresa of Avila’s prayer book contained a bookmark on which she wrote: Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you. All things pass-God never changes. Patience achieves all it strives for. Whoever has God lacks nothing-God alone suffices.
May we ask the saints to intercede for us in prayer so that we be made ready for the gift of heaven now on earth. I end off this post with a hymn that was sung in the mass,”Blest are They” by David Haas; it is comforting and yet uplifting in our walk towards rejoicing together with the saints in our earthly life.
God Bless! as we continue to emulate the example of the saints in our lives, and do go ahead to pick one saint as your role model to follow!
“Blest are they, the poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of God. Blest are they, they, full of sorrow, they shall be consoled.
Rejoice and be glad! Blessed are you, holy are you! Rejoice and be glad! Yours is the kingdom of God!
Blest are they, the lowly ones, they shall inherit the earth. Blest are they who hunger and thirst, they shall have their fill.
Blest are they who show mercy, mercy shall be theirs. Blest are they, the pure of heart, they shall see God!
Blest are they who seek peace; they are the children of God. Blest are they who suffer in faith, the glory of God is theirs.
Blest are you who suffer hate, all because of me. Rejoice and be glad, yours is the kingdom; shine for all to see.”
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong